The following article was written by Kevin Kearns .
My name is Coach Kevin Kearns. I’ve been a personal trainer and strength coach since 1987.
I have worked with over 15 UFC fighters and created my own MMA Fitness Training certification system, which is now global, as well as produced over 15 workout videos and written over 300 fitness-related articles. I have presented for Idea Fitness, ECA, SCW and Can Fit Pro, and my sponsors include JumpSport Fitness Trampolines, WearTrueForm, Purmotion, TITIN, Bosu, Rev Gear and Hedstrom Fitness.
I still train clients on a daily basis
, which is why I was asked to write this article.
Choosing a personal trainer is no easy task in today’s market, and the internet hasn’t made it much better. A trainer’s website can look outstanding at first glance, but the initial training session can leave you wondering if you called the right number.
It can also be a setback if you choose your trainer based on their muscular physique. You might think to yourself,
“Wow, I want to look like that guy or girl”
, then while training with them, quickly realize that they are spending more time checking out their pecs in the mirror than making sure you bench press correctly.
In short, the best personal trainers are hard to come by; so here are 11 simple ways to help you find and choose the best trainer for you.
Word of Mouth
This is an age old tool that has been around since man started selling services. When in doubt, ask a friend or family member if they know of a good trainer.
If you are considering a particular trainer, ask for references of current clients and clients they have worked with in the past.
If a trainer does not have at least one certification, chances are good that they are not the best trainer. Also, if they do have credentials, make sure to find out who certified them. For example, you might want to steer clear if they took an online test in one day. I have a tendency to lean towards trainers that have an actual degree in a fitness related field, but you should also take this with a grain of salt. I’ve worked with plenty of trainers with master’s degrees who didn’t know the right side of a kettlebell.
Street cred, or more importantly gym or fitness cred, is significant too. What are other trainers and clients saying about this person? What have they been doing in their career? Better yet, is it a career or they just looking to make a few bucks on the side? You want a serious trainer that commits to their work full-time. Personal training isn’t a “jump in and out” job. It’s a calling.
Style of Training
Not only are there good trainers and bad trainers, there are different trainers for different needs. To make sure you find the perfect trainer, be clear and specific about what kind of training you are looking for. If you want to look like a bodybuilder or are concerned with how much you can dead lift, choosing a trainer that only teaches pilates will not end well for either of you.
Your Needs and Goals
A good trainer will focus on your needs and goals—not theirs. I have a client with a delicate heart condition that has been with me for 2 years. One trainer he saw before me was so resolved on getting him to bench press a lot of weight that my client had to fire him.
Pills, Powders and Potions
Okay, this is a real red flag. Quick weight loss schemes never work. This is why we have an obesity pandemic. If they actually worked, we would all be at our ideal weight . If a trainer is trying to sell you some powder or pill, walk away. I never recommend that a client take anything I would not put into my own body.
This is a big one that was conveyed to me by my mentor Douglas Brooks. If the trainer has no personality or enthusiasm, how are they going to motivate you at 5 in the morning? Do they have an integrity model that they stick with?
Business Should Be Business
I have seen many trainers that have crossed this line too many times. If you “hear it through the grapevine” that this particular trainer dates his or her customers, it’s another red flag. It is unprofessional and could potentially cause a lot of unwanted drama.
Right Client, Right Trainer
While training style is extremely important, personal compatibility is too. You need to ask yourself if you could have a good conversation with your trainer outside of business. Most people (clients and trainers) can generally tell if someone is the right fit. Don’t worry if you’re not best friends, though. No one is perfect.
Once you’ve settled on a trainer, you should continue your evaluation. Ask yourself questions like: How well does this person communicate? How do they respond to my strengths and weaknesses? How do they follow up on questions I’ve asked? All trainers should be clear and concise and follow up as quickly as possible. You are their clients and income—if they snooze, they lose!